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Have Urban Schools Failed, or Has the Reform Movement Failed Urban Schools?
Have urban schools failed, or has reform failed urban schools? This book examines existing urban school programs, ranging from desegregation to reading improvement, in light of available historical, empirical, and case study evidence. Mirón and St. John and their contributors probe the underlying theoretical, normative, and political assumptions embedded in specific reform initiatives. They explore how reforms might be reconstructed to better address the underlying challenges and they demonstrate that reforms can be constructively critiqued throughout the stages of implementation, arguing that greater attention should be paid to ethnic and cultural traditions within urban educational settings.
The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What it Means for American Schools
While powerful gender inequalities remain in American society, women have made substantial gains and now largely surpass men in one crucial arena: education. Women now outperform men academically at all levels of school, and are more likely to obtain college degrees and enroll in graduate school. What accounts for this enormous reversal in the gender education gap? In The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools, Thomas DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann provide a detailed and accessible account of women’s educational advantage and suggest new strategies to improve schooling outcomes for both boys and girls.The Rise of Women opens with a masterful overview of the broader societal changes that accompanied the change in gender trends in higher education. The rise of egalitarian gender norms and a growing demand for college-educated workers allowed more women to enroll in colleges and universities nationwide. As this shift occurred, women quickly reversed the historical male advantage in education. By 2010, young women in their mid-twenties surpassed their male counterparts in earning college degrees by more than eight percentage points. The authors, however, reveal an important exception: While women have achieved parity in fields such as medicine and the law, they lag far behind men in engineering and physical science degrees. To explain these trends, The Rise of Women charts the performance of boys and girls over the course of their schooling. At each stage in the education process, they consider the gender-specific impact of factors such as families, schools, peers, race and class. Important differences emerge as early as kindergarten, where girls show higher levels of essential learning skills such as persistence and self-control. Girls also derive more intrinsic gratification from performing well on a day-to-day basis, a crucial advantage in the learning process. By contrast, boys must often navigate a conflict between their emerging masculine identity and a strong attachment to school. Families and peers play a crucial role at this juncture. The authors show the gender gap in educational attainment between children in the same families tends to be lower when the father is present and more highly educated. A strong academic climate, both among friends and at home, also tends to erode stereotypes that disconnect academic prowess and a healthy, masculine identity. Similarly, high schools with strong science curricula reduce the power of gender stereotypes concerning science and technology and encourage girls to major in scientific fields. As the value of a highly skilled workforce continues to grow, The Rise of Women argues that understanding the source and extent of the gender gap in higher education is essential to improving our schools and the economy. With its rigorous data and clear recommendations, this volume illuminates new ground for future education policies and research.
Self-Education by Deaf Children in Thai Boarding Schools
In developed nations around the world, residential schools for deaf students are giving way to the trend of inclusion in regular classrooms. Nonetheless, deaf education continues to lag as the students struggle to communicate. In the Bua School in Thailand, however, 400 residential deaf students ranging in age from 6 to 19 have met with great success in teaching each other Thai Sign Language (TSL) and a world of knowledge once thought to be lost to them. The Rising of Lotus Flowers: Self-Education by Deaf Children in Thai Boarding Schools reveals how their institutionalization allowed them to foster a unique incubator of communication and education. Charles B. Reilly, a teacher and community organizer in Thailand for eight years, and Nipapon Reilly, a Deaf Thai citizen, studied the students in the Bua School for 14 years, with periodic follow-ups thereafter. They found that the students learned little from their formal instructors, but that they were able to educate each other in time spent away from the classroom. Older students who had learned TSL in the dorms and on the playground successfully passed it on to six-year-olds who had virtually no language at all. The Reillys’ study uncovers an elaborate hierarchy of education among these students, with each group using games and other activities to teach and bring other classmates up to their level. Named for the much admired aquatic plant that blooms in Thailand’s bogs, the Bua School epitomizes the ideal of The Rising of Lotus Flowers, which also offers analytical evidence of the continuing value of residential schools in deaf education.
The Dilemmas of Neo-Liberal Reform at Makerere University, 1989-2005
Scholars in the Marketplace is a case study of market-based reforms at Uganda's Makerere University. With the World Bank heralding neoliberal reform at Makerere as the model for the transformation of higher education in Africa, it has implications for the whole continent. At the global level, the Makerere case exemplifies the fate of public universities in a market-oriented and capital friendly era. The Makerere reform began in the 1990s and was based on the premise that higher education is more of a private than a public good. Instead of pitting the public against the private, and the state against the market, this book shifts the terms of the debate toward a third alternative than explores different relations between the two. The book distinguishes between privatisation and commercialisation, two processes that drove the Makerere reform. It argues that whereas privatisation (the entry of privately sponsored students) is compatible with a public university where priorities are publicly set, commercialisation (financial and administrative autonomy for each faculty to design a market-responsive curriculum) inevitably leads to a market determination of priorities in a public university. The book warns against commercialisation of public universities as the subversion of public institutions for private purposes.
From Promise to Practice
An increasingly important and appealing concept for school renewal is that of school as community. While community holds multiple promises for schools, little is known about the practice of community in schools. This collection furthers our understanding about the nature of school community, its practice in public schools, and the role of leadership in this practice. Of particular importance is the question of how community can be created and sustained in K–12 public schools with highly diverse populations.
The Legal Pursuit of Educational Adequacy
“Adequacy lawsuits” have emerged as an alternative strategy in pursuit of improved public education in America. Plaintiffs allege insufficient resources to provide students with the quality of education promised in their state’s constitution, hoping the courts will step in and order the state to increase its level of aid. Since 1980, 45 of the 50 states have faced such suits. How pervasive—and effective—is this trend? What are its ramifications, at the school district level and on a broader scope? This important new book addresses these questions. The contributors consider the legal theory behind adequacy lawsuits, examining how the education clauses in state constitutions have been reinterpreted. According to James Guthrie and Matthew Springer, this trend has more fully politicized the process of cost modeling in school finance. Frederick Hess looks at the politics of adequacy implementation. Research by Christopher Berry of Harvard finds that the most significant result of the movement has not resulted in broad-ranging changes in school funding. How the No Child Left Behind Act and adequacy lawsuits impact one another is an especially interesting question, as addressed by Andrew Rudalevige and Michael Heise. This is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the adequacy lawsuit strategy, a topic of increasing importance in a controversial area of public policy that touches virtually all Americans. It will be of interest to readers engaged in education policy discussions and those concerned about the power of the courts to make policy rather than simply to enforce it.
Localism, Cultural Tradition, and the Development of Alabama's Public Education System, 1865-1915
This richly researched and impressively argued work is a history of public schooling in Alabama in the half century following the Civil War. It engages with depth and sophistication Alabama’s social and cultural life in the period that can be characterized by the three “R”s: Reconstruction, redemption, and racism. Alabama was a mostly rural, relatively poor, and culturally conservative state, and its schools reflected the assumptions of that society.
Life at a Failing School in the Heart of America
Searching for Hope is a gripping account of life in a once-great high school in a rough Indianapolis neighborhood. Granted unfiltered access to Manual High throughout an entire school year, award-winning journalist Matthew Tully tells the complex story of the everyday drama, failures, and triumphs in one of the nation's many troubled urban public high schools. He walks readers into classrooms, offices, and hallways, painting a vivid picture of the profound academic problems, deep frustrations, and apathy that absorb and sometimes consume students, teachers, and administrators. Yet this intimate view also reveals the hopes, dreams, and untapped talents of some amazing individuals. Providing insights into the challenges confronting those who seek to improve the quality of America's schools, Tully argues that school leaders and policy makers must rally communities to heartfelt engagement with their schools if the crippling social and economic threats to cities such as Indianapolis are to be averted.